Regardless of which health care profession you choose to pursue, you’ll need to spend some extra years in school before you can start working in your field.
If you have the opportunity, consider taking some elective courses to give your schedule some diversity. The following examples are electives that will be useful to your future career.
Latin and Greek
Have you noticed that learning medical terminology is almost like learning a new language? For example, if you didn’t know what the word “antiviral” meant, you can figure it out by breaking it down to “anti—“ (the prefix meaning against) and “viral” (which refers to viruses). So you conclude that this word refers to something that fights against viruses. You don’t have to learn Latin and Greek (unless you want to), but as you can see, they are frequently found in scientific terminology, particularly as suffixes and prefixes. Taking a course or two to learn their meanings will be useful for any aspiring healthcare professionals.
Professional Writing and Communication
Healthcare professionals need to have the technical knowledge to perform their job, as well as strong communication skills to keep their patients and colleagues informed. Simply put, a healthcare provider who is unable to clearly explain their patients’ condition and treatment options is not doing their job. Moreover, healthcare providers work in teams: if one member cannot clearly convey instructions (either written or verbal) or patient updates to their colleagues, this is also unacceptable. Therefore, professional writing and communication skills are as necessary to healthcare providers as a knowledge of CPR.
Computer Science and Technology
Since many hospitals and medical groups are moving towards digitizing their systems, it’s important for aspiring healthcare professionals to become familiar with computer science and technology. You don’t have to know the nitty-gritty of programming, but finding out what software you will likely use in your profession and how to use and troubleshoot it will certainly help you in the long run.
An understanding of science history may not be directly applicable in the field, but it’s important for any healthcare professional to understand the context of their career and learn how certain practices came to be. For example, the concept of voluntary informed consent is mandatory in contemporary medicine, but it was only introduced in 1947 in the Nuremberg Code. Having this background knowledge can help you appreciate your role as a healthcare professional.
These electives are all egg-cellent additions to your healthcare education. The pay-off may not be immediate, but the additional knowledge will make you a more well-rounded healthcare provider!